FhP-AICOS’ new meal recommendation solution will tackle food allergies



Knowing that ICT can improve people’ access to important nutrition and health information, researchers at FhP-AICOS have achieved decisive progress with recommendation tools in nutrition. Now, FhP-AICOS’ researchers will tackle a new challenge by incorporating food restrictions born from allergies and chronic disease into the recommendation system. The aim of the LIFANA project is to create a software to support healthy nutrition through all phases of ageing, from active seniors to elderly users in need of care, thus guaranteeing longer living at home by tackling malnutrition.


Previous projects, like SousChef and Cordon Gris, took into account a significant amount of data, from different bio-markers, to country-specific food composition databases, retailers’ information and service providers’ information, among several others. The system used all this data to create personalized meal recommendations and shopping assistance. However, so far the solution was taught to be used by elderly living independently at home and had not taken into account specific diet restrictions.

Individuals with various forms of food allergies and sensitivities must avoid certain foods or food ingredients in their diets, and selecting meals can become a tedious task requiring the painstaking deciphering of ingredient lists and package labels. As a result, food allergies significantly limit quality of life.

Similarly, many elderly users suffer from chronic diseases, such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease, which require them to adjust their diet significantly. Although the burdens of established diseases as well as the risks of developing further conditions can be diminished by altering their diet, this is a difficult task for many seniors to achieve on their own.

To answer this problem, FhP-AICOS’ researchers will improve the existing meal recommender system through the inclusion of allergy warnings and the adaptation of recommendations for older adults that suffer from chronic diseases, in a new project called LIFANA.

Researchers from FhP-AICOS will join efforts with several partners to integrate the experience and the systems previously developed by each partner related with the topic of nutrition, healthy eating and activity. The consortium will count on the help of a number of nutritionists to create an integrated solution that will better support people in their food choices and shopping. More than 150 users will be involved in testing the resulting prototype, for a period of one year, in three different countries: Portugal, Switzerland and the Netherlands. In Portugal, the solution will be tested by seniors at Santa Casa da Misericordia do Porto’s residential home.


Coordinated by the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology, the project brings together FhP-AICOS, the Luxembourg Institute of Health, Santa Casa da Misericordia do Porto, Gociety Solutions, KBO-PCOB, cereneo Schweiz AG, and SONAE.

Project LIFANA (AAL-2017-013) “Lifelong food and nutrition assistance package” is co-financed by the European Commission under the Active and Assisted Living Joint Programme and nationally by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT).”